4 Ways to Put the Customer First in Your Trade Show Exhibit

December 9th, 2017

Typically, the overarching goal of a trade show exhibit is to build brand awareness and/or earn leads and customers. To reach these goals, the exhibit has to be an accurate and stunning representation of the business behind it. However, in building this type of display, some businesses forget that the trade show exhibit also has to achieve another goal: Appealing to the customer. Unless the customer feels as if they are encountering solutions to their problems and talking with professionals who care about their needs, they are unlikely to do anything other than, perhaps, admire a fine display. It is when the display can both portray the best parts of a company and demonstrate how that company can meet customers’ needs that it delivers the desired ROI. To help you create a trade show exhibit that puts your customer first, here are four tips for your next trade show exhibit.

SXSW trade show UK booth










Create an intuitive layout for the trade show exhibit.

Visitors want to feel comfortable in your trade show exhibit. If they have a hard time finding their way around, or have difficulty understanding what to do in the space, they may be less likely to engage with your business. As a result, focus on creating an intuitive layout within the display that will make it easy and pleasant for visitors to navigate. For example, ensure that there is plenty of space for visitors to walk around as they talk with your staff, view your products, and interact with your presentations. When they feel as if they can move freely (instead of being crowded), they will be more likely to relax and focus on your messaging. In addition, create signage and graphics that guide visitors through the trade show exhibit. For example, if you are telling a chronological story of your company, use signs and images to guide them from the founding of your business to the modern day. If refreshments are in the back, make sure that they are easy to locate. Finally, use the layout of the booth itself to delineate the separate areas of the trade show exhibit. For example, use different flooring, the arrangement of chairs, or even walls to separate the lounge area from the product displays, or the presentation area from the refreshments. Doing so will make it easier for attendees to find their way to the areas of your display that they most want to explore.

Provide enough space for the expected number of visitors to your trade show exhibit.

While not having enough visitors might be every exhibitor’s nightmare, overcrowding can also present a problem. Long lines waiting for a giveaway, crowds lining the aisles trying to get to a presentation, or simply not enough staff to answer everyone’s questions can turn potential customers away (And get you in trouble with show management, if your crowds are blocking the exhibit hall aisles). As a result, focus on creating enough space in your trade show exhibit for the number of visitors you expect. One rule of thumb is to multiply the number of show attendees by .16 to determine how many attendees will be interested in your business, and then multiply that number by .45 to determine how many will stop by your booth. Divide that number by the hours your booth will be open to get an estimate of how many visitors to expect per hour. Then, try to provide about 25 square feet of space for each person in the booth. If you can create a trade show exhibit design that allows this much space for visitors, you are likely to avoid overcrowding issues. In addition, provide ample seating for presentations, enough kiosks for the visitors you expect, and enough giveaways so everyone receives something when they stop by your booth. Doing so will make visitors feel welcome to stop by your trade show exhibit and learn more about your business.

Display messaging in your trade show exhibit that addresses visitors’ pain points.

Your target audience will have specific pain points that your business can address. These pain points are areas of frustration, need, or concern that, when addressed, will motivate the person to engage with your business. For example, if your business specializes in LED lights, you may want to emphasize the fact that the new ones do not flicker, address budgetary concerns, or focus on the positive environmental impact of LEDs. Using your trade show exhibit to demonstrate how your business meets the customer at their pain points can be an effective use of your space. When the customer sees through graphics, writing, and interactive stations that you understand and are capable of meeting their needs and can meet them, they will be more willing to engage with your company. To this end, ensure that the first message visitors see on your display is one that addresses their pain points; use compelling, action-oriented graphics that they will relate to, and directly address their concerns in presentations and interactive elements throughout the trade show display.











Consider a versatile trade show display (like a modular trade show display).

Finally, you may find that your target audience is slightly different at each trade show. As a result, their needs and interests (and the type of display that is most effective) may vary from show to show. If you find yourself in this type of situation, you may want to consider a versatile trade show exhibit. In particular, modular trade show displays might be a good choice when you have multiple target audiences to reach over multiple shows. Modular exhibits allow you to tweak your messaging and layout for each trade show you attend. As a result, you can create an exhibit that directly addresses the concerns of each slightly different audience you encounter at each show. This can mean a more effective presence that earns you more visitors and a more successful trade show season. Creating an effective trade show exhibit means putting the customer first. When you create an appealing layout, provide enough space, address their pain points, and use a versatile trade show display, you improve your chances of enjoying a successful (and profitable) presence at your next trade show.